GOSHEN — The planned rezoning of a long-vacant former auto shop near downtown Goshen got the green light from Goshen City Council members Tuesday evening.
During the meeting, council members approved a request by the Arnovitz Family Ltd. and Abonmarche Consultants to rezone the former Monteith Tire & Auto Service Center property, located at 410 W. Pike St., from Commercial B-1 to Commercial B-2.
According to Rhonda Yoder, planning and zoning administrator for the city, by rezoning the property to Commercial B-2, it will allow for a range of moderate intensity commercial uses not currently allowed at the site, while at the same time reducing the existing developmental nonconformities at the site, all of which will facilitate greater site options so the property does not continue to sit vacant.
“This comes from the Goshen Plan Commission, which met on July 21 in regular session,” Yoder said in introducing the request Tuesday. “This is a rezoning from Commercial B-1, which is neighborhood zoning, to Commercial B-2, which is central business district. The rezoning is requested to address the existing nonconformity in order to facilitate future use, and the plan commission forwarded this to the council with a favorable recommendation by a vote of 8-0.”
Yoder noted that prior to the redevelopment of Pike Street by the Indiana Department of Transportation several years ago, the property had direct access to Pike Street, and was using a portion of the public right of way as part of the site for parking/driving aisles.
However, when Pike Street was widened as part of INDOT’s redevelopment of the corridor, the site’s direct access to Pike Street was removed, and as a non-conforming use, the site now faces challenges in meeting requirements for a new commercial use, Yoder explained.
Yoder also noted that while the city’s current zoning ordinance, adopted in 1984, does not permit tire sales and service operations in the B-1 District, the 410 W. Pike St. site has been zoned B-1 since the adoption of the city’s first zoning ordinance back in 1961, and thus is allowed as a lawful, non-conforming use.
However, she noted that any future commercial uses planned for the site must meet the city’s existing B-1 district requirements, which as written allows for very limited commercial uses.
As such, she explained that a rezoning of the property to Commercial B-2 — which allows for a wide range of moderate intensity commercial uses, but not the most intensive commercial uses, such as auto-related and drive-through uses — would likely be the best option for the site given that it will both reduce the developmental nonconformities of the property, and facilitate future use so the property does not remain vacant.
Crystal Welsh, a planner with Abonmarche representing the property owner, offered a similar sentiment when speaking to her support for the rezoning request Tuesday.
“I just want to thank Rhonda and the staff for their assistance in selecting what we think is an appropriate rezoning request,” Welsh said. “The B-2 is consistent with the adjacent property, and it allows for, again, a wider range of businesses that fit more into the character of the neighborhood.”
Asked if the property owner has a specific plan in place for the property, Yoder noted that Arnovitz Family Ltd. is currently in the process of exploring all available options for the site.
“The applicant has no specific proposed use at this time,” she said. “They’re trying to decide what to do with the property. So, the rezoning would give them more options, and then they may decide to rent or sell the property.”
The requested rezoning was approved unanimously.